Twelfth Annual Private Property Rights Advocate Award
Presented to Don Corace
"In Recognition of His Dedication to the Preservation of Human Rights Guaranteed in the United States Constitution"
Don Corace, who delivered the keynote address, took the injustices to which he was subjected as a private developer and transformed them into a mission to tell the nation about private property rights. He wrote the book Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights-And How We Can Right It, filling the pages with intent renditions of the stories of individuals, businesses, and communities bedeviled by eminent domain, enforcement of wetland regulations, imposition of outlandish endangered species protections, and harsh zoning. In the popular volume, he urges people to go to the media with their stories, which is exactly what he did with his book. He discussed Government Pirates in many media venues including a series of broadcasts on the Sean Hannity show. He set out on a public speaking circuit to keep up a high profile for the undiminished threats to private property rights. Three years earlier, he had contacted the Property Rights Foundation for assistance with his research. At that time, like so many others whose plans had suffered under the strong arm of environmental governance, he promised to devote his time to fighting for private property rights. He kept his promise.
Eleventh Annual New York State Private Property Rights Defender
Presented to Albert L. Wassenhove
"In Recognition of His Defense of Constitutionally Guaranteed Private Property Rights in the State of New York."
Albert L. Wassenhove has served the town of Ghent as a citizen concerned about the community wellbeing of for many years, advocating for private property rights, the just interests of taxpayers, and the economic future of local working people. He took on the role of leadership upon reading a flyer published by the Property Rights Foundation warning that the National Park Service was preparing to submit nominations of 36 sites to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in Paris to be recognized as World Heritage Sites. Among the sites was Olana, the Moorish-style Italianate Villa and 250-acre hilltop estate of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church, overlooking the Hudson River valley in Greenport. Mr. Wassenhove's concern was that the designation of Olana as a World Heritage Site could be exploited by preservationists as a tool to obstruct development within the view of the estate for a considerable distance up and down the Hudson. He was the only such leader in the nation to seriously take on one of these applications. The application for Olana was deleted from the Park Service list of proposed World Heritage Sites.
Seventh Annual Grassroots Leadership Award
Presented Posthumously to William J. Opferman
"In Recognition of His Dedication to Defending Private Property Rights & Constitutional Representative Government"
The tragedy of the presentation to Bill Opferman was that, unknown to Carol LaGrasse, he had died just weeks before the conference. It was known that he was too ill to travel. The award plaque was presented to a great round of applause at the conference and again, by his nephew Michael Giovanelli, at a memorial service and tree planting on Veteran's Day at the Veterans Park in Hamilton, New Jersey, this time to reverent applause by his beloved friends and many people of his appreciative community. Brief words cannot indicate the ten years of Bill Opferman's dedicated work with the Property Rights to protect the people of the Hamilton area, the State of New Jersey, and the nation from federal land schemes. Most recently, he played an important part in holding off the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area for four years, and took on the proposed Journey through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. At Hamilton, his recent accomplishments included adoption of the PRFA eminent domain resolution and defeat of the intrusive Crosswicks Creek trail. His effective service as a Member of the Property Rights Foundation of America National Advisory Board is deeply appreciated.
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